It's finally here.
The greatest day of spring, the day spring football officially starts up! Renewed optimism has come to Vanderbilt after a year where a stout defense nearly led the Commodores to a bowl game. With many of those starters returning the question has become this: can Vanderbilt take the next step on offense and make a long awaited return to the postseason? Here are our five predictions for our first look at the 2016 Vanderbilt football team.
Prediction Number One: Either Zaire Jones, Joejuan Williams, or Donovan Sheffield will record an interception.
Why I like this prediction: Because all three defense backs have rotated within the first or second series of each practice, meaning they are likely to get reps this game to see where they stand. Playing time has been earned here, no doubt.
Prediction Number Two: Jared Pinkney has a huge day for the Dores, recording either 100+ yards receiving OR scoring two plus touchdowns.
Why I like this prediction: Pinkney actually snuck in against Western Kentucky before an injury derailed his freshman campaign. Taking a whole year off to redshirt actually done nothing but make him grow muscle mass and become a big target at tight end. Vanderbilt has done exceptional work recruiting wide receivers who can eventually turn into tight ends, and that is going to help the Commodore offense grow by leaps and bounds in 2016.
Prediction Number Three: Young tailbacks Jaire George/Josh Crawford goes over 100 yards.
Why I like this prediction: Both George and Crawford have shown promise this year. George certainly doesn't look like a two-star high school linebacker, and Crawford seems to find the hole and hit it a lot cleaner than he did last season. One of these two will have a huge game.
Prediction Number Four: Either Kyle Shurmur or Wade Freebeck will have a game that will make you believe the quarterback competition is already over.
Why I like this prediction: Because both have been hot and cold, but both have shown flashes of what we expected when they were recruited. One of these two will make us believe the contest is over, but one of the unpredictable results of such an early spring game is the growth that can happen from now until August.
Prediction Number Five: You are going to leave tonight's game with more faith in Coach Mason and his staff than you came with.
Why I like this prediction: Because these are his boys now. These are kids he recruited and sold on Vanderbilt. These are kids he sat down and coached the last three years. These are like-minded players who believe in we and not in me (team first).
These interviews the last couple of weeks have taught me a lot. For one it has been a learning curve with Mason finding the coaches he likes and trusts. For two he has a great group of coaches, who have all had success where they went. He has a mix of former big time players and guys who had some great work at the smaller school level. In terms of getting the most out of his group, there might not be anybody better than Mason and crew.
Sit back and enjoy the start of the 2016 season, make some predictions yourself, and talk about the game!
How to watch
Who: the Vanderbilt offense vs. the Vanderbilt defense
Where: Dudley Field, Nashville, TN
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV information: SEC Network
|6||Touchdown||12||Defensive TD (TD + Turnover)|
|3||Field Goal||6||Defensive Turnover (Fumble Recovery or INT)|
|2||2-Point Conversion||3||Missed Field Goal|
|1||Extra Point||2||Unsuccessful 2-Point Conversion|
|1||Play of 15 Yards or More||2||Sack|